A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Catching Mice

I set this live catch trap up like this in the engine compartment over night. The critters like to goof around in there.  It traps them inside alive and then I take them for a bicycle ride up the road a few hundred yards away in the morning.  
So far the score stands at 14 chipmunks and 19 mice.

One morning Beans was playing with something under the RV.  She had a baby mouse.  The next morning she had another baby.  Where is she getting them from?  Soon after I actually saw another one fall down from the inside of the front bumper.  The nest must be up under there somewhere but I can't see it.  It could be inside the chassis member as the channel has a few holes in it and I think that is where those rats went last winter while in the desert.  I am beginning to think there will be no end to the mice here.  I've not seen one predator (coyote, hawk, etc.) since we've been here.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Simple Bath

A while back I featured my outdoor solar shower set-up.  Here is my simple bath set-up.  Some call it a sponge bath but being I have no sponge would it be a wash cloth bath?  I set that black one gallon jug full of water out in the sun to warm up.  Believe me, it gets HOT!  Too hot to use as is and I add an equal amount of unheated water (the clear jug) to make the water perfect.  The flip-flops are my shower shoes which are cleaner for my clean feet.  The ones on the ground on each side of the basin are regular everyday flip-flops, a bit dirty.

Beans just chillin' while Dad gets clean.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

On Restaurants and Fast Food Take Outs

I have seen where in some states for those restaurants that are allowed to have indoor dining the customer is required to wear a mask while eating. They are allowed to pull down the mask to pop in a bite of food or sip their beverage and then must replace the mask.  Really?  I am more concerned about what goes on back in the kitchen and those preparing my food than I am out front where I would be eating with other patrons seated six feet or more apart.  Thus I have not eaten out anywhere since all of this COVID-19 business began late last fall.  I have not even placed an order at a fast food joint.  A few days ago I purchased a roasted chicken at the grocery store here in Sisters.
That is the closest I have come to ordering prepared food in nine months.

What did you get at the store Dad?  Ooo...I smell chicken!

I have to say this was probably the best chicken I have ever had from a store.

I understand that Walmarts have changed their hours of operation.  I suspect this is a result from public official mandates.  I don't know if this is state by state or what.  I didn't research it.  I have better things to do with my time than figure out COVID silliness from politicians.  But these changes mean no more twenty-four hour open Walmart stores.  Personally I would rather shop at o'dark-thirty at night when few people are in the store.  Instead the shoppers are now confined to reduced period of operation closing the doors at eight-thirty in the evening.  Furthermore multiple points of entry no longer exist.  All shoppers are herded through one door to enter the store.  Let's bunch up all the people together. 
Where is the sense in that?

Gee, I sure do miss my nice Subway sandwich, or an artery clogging juicy hamburger with a thick chocolate shake from Burger King or even a Dominos gut-plugger pizza.
It is beginning to look like I will never be able to enjoy dining out again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Being John Malkovich

No one saw the resemblance to the actor as I did and the few friends I sent the photo to.

Monday, July 27, 2020

COVID-19 Makes You Do Crazy Things

One morning while Beans and I were out hunting I got the notion to cut my hair.  Not just cut it, but shave my head.  I have never shaved my head before.  I thought: I never see anyone, no one ever sees me and if they do I have on a hat (or my motorcycle helmet) and have a bandanna wrapped around my face.  So why not?  This is what happens when one has been isolated for far too long.

Back at the RV I fed Beans and dug out the clippers.  I went back outside and started cutting.  When I was finished I went inside and looked in the mirror.  Well that was shocking.  But I had to admit it felt good.  I put everything away and decided to take a picture.  It was only when I viewed the image I thought Oh my!  I look like...well I’m not saying.  I am curious if you can see a resemblance to someone well known.  One friend I sent it to saw it right away.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The High Rent District

In our tranquil little camp this is the only visitors we ever see.  One of the many horse trails here pass through camp.  Maybe once a week some trail riders come by.

In the post about getting water I wrote about discovering the campground in town that I didn't know existed and showed the rates.  Near us is another "campground" (I use the term campground very loosely here).  It is near the fairgrounds.  We are about a mile to the left of this image.

Here are their rates.  We have been here eight weeks now.  I did the math for you.  $3160 saved.
I would really like to know if there are those who actually do stay for a week or even longer.  I might just ride my bicycle over there and tour the place if I can.  It is really fancy.  There are actually RV Parks that have regulations against any RV over ten years of age from being allowed in.  Seriously, I am not making this up.  They wouldn't let us stay not that you could even pay me to stay there. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Water Pump Arrived

Well I said I would put it in when I received it for the pump began acting up again soon after my fix.  Of course as soon as I placed the order the pump began to behave.  It still is working fine so I'll just leave it for now.  Someday it will peter out again and I will be ready.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Making Shade

It finally came to be that I had to set up the shade cloth.  The first half of the day the sun would beat in on the side which was welcomed on these chilly mornings.  But chilly mornings are no more as summer has full on set in here at Sisters, Oregon.

Having did my run for propane and water there would be no need to move the RV for another fifty days if we're still here then.  So I made camp more comfortable.

Oh yeah Dad.  I like this shade.

I don't have to spend all my time underneath anymore 
although it is a good spot to ambush a fool chipmunk who comes in too close.

It provided me with a nice shaded work area to file down the sharp edges of the plywood for the bed improvement.  I noticed a big difference being out of the hot sun to work.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fixing My Bed

I've been dealing with this issue for years.  Sometimes after a night's sleep my back is barking at me in the morning.  One day I recalled how many many years ago I used to sleep on the floor and how that helped a back issue I was having at the time.  I won't go into the long story behind that but it made me think of a possible solution in the RV.  I'd place a piece of plywood on the bed.  
Next stop, ACE Hardware.

Here is the bed naked.  The right half that Beans is on lifts up for access to a storage area at the bottom of the photo and the heater compartment under Beans.  I used to have two inch and a half memory foam mattress toppers on there so I wouldn't feel the crack.  I eliminated one of them while at the house back in May.  That helped.

This is a four foot by four foot sheet of plywood.  Anything longer the corner of the board would stick out along that curve of the mattress in the lower right. 
 I really didn't need the stiffness for my legs anyway.

I added this heavy wool blanket for the little bit of padding and insulation plus it was in the way up front where I stored it. Here was a chance to use it and get it out of sight.

Then the remaining inch and a half thick memory foam top covered with a comforter.

Finally the sleeping bag and Mexican blanket.

This was a huge improvement.  The first morning I sat up to watch the sun rise and it dawned on me (no pun here) I was sitting up!  I never could sit up before as it was all too soft, no support.
Yeah Dad, I like this.
I do too Beans.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Grocery Store

I just never know what to expect when I go to the main grocery store in town.  Lots of the time what I want isn't there to be had.  I don't know if that is the case with just this store or this is how things are across the country during these COVID days.  I did the best I could then went and checked out Dollar General close by.  There were no jugs of drinking water available so I didn't buy anything there and went next door to BiMart.  At least they had jugs of water.  Yep, same checkout lady in lane one along the shoe aisle.  She likes her job way too much.  A high energy woman.
Oh, and she was wearing a mask.  I think all the employees have dispensed with the face shields.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Car Wash

One day when I returned from an outing I discovered Beans had lost her breakfast on the carpets.  Poor thing.  At least she puked on the floor.  Sinbad would choose the bed most of the time.

They cleaned up real well and I also squirted off the cab portion of the RV.
This was the best car wash I have been at in ages.  High pressure, hot water and lots of soap.
I like this town more and more all the time.
I rolled the rugs up and strapped them to the bike carrier in back.

Later back at camp they sat out in the sun all day to dry.
Notice the whiter corner of the tan carpet.
  Oxi-Clean works too well.

Next up, the grocery store.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Filling the Propane Tank

I last filled the propane tank in Bend, Oregon before we arrived in Sisters on June 1.  I had previously inquired around and was told that the Chevron station on the other side of town was the only place to get propane.  Good price at a $1.99 a gallon.  It took 10.3 gallons and the tank holds 11.2.  The guy never asked is anyone was inside like the Bend guy did, nor even if the appliances were turned off like half the propane guys do.  Okay folks...notice anything in this photo?

There is a water faucet right there!!  Imagine my disgust seeing that for by this stage I would have already completed the water fill at the city park.  Honestly, in all my years on the road I have only seen one free water fill at a gas station near the propane service area and that is at a Shell station in Yuma, Arizona.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Found Water

The day arrived that I had to fill the propane tank.  This meant breaking camp  So while in town I would fill the water tank at the city park.  I figured I'd be making about a half a dozen trips back and forth lugging four gallon water bottles to get the water tank full.  I would do that first hopefully before any people showed up in the park.  I didn't want to be answering questions.  Coming into town I noticed a sign for a city RV park.  I didn't know that was there.  Being curious I pulled in to check it out.  Here is the sign when entering.  For the time we've been here, with a senior discount for a 
non-hook up RV site I would have paid a $1000 dollars by now.  See why I camp like I do?

Here is another reason why I camp like I do.

I saw only a couple people outside.  Most everyone was holed up indoors.
That's real camping!

I saw a sign by the entry sign showing dump station straight ahead.  Well, where's there is a dump station there is usually a water fill.  And there was!  This really made my day as I wouldn't have to be filling the tank with one gallon water jugs.

On the other side was a pay station to dump your sewage.  That was a $10 fee!

Thankfully the water was free or I would have coninued on with plan A, the city park.

All the while I was filling up the camp host was right there.  
He never said anything about the freeloader getting water in his campground.

I drove away not believing my good fortune.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Pandora Moth - part two

Last month I posted about these large caterpillars around camp falling on Beans and I from the tall Ponderosa pines we are camped beneath.  Well not long after they had all disappeared.

Then one day I found this behind the RV one morning.  Someone had pulled this pupa or chrysalis out from the ground.  This had to be what had happened with all the caterpillars.

Then I began seeing large clumsy flying insects.  Could they be the moths?  
Finally I was able to swat one down and discovered they were not moths but a beetle.

As near as I can determine they are a lined beetle akin to the Ten-lined June beetle which made sense for after all it was the end of June when they began hovering about.  It’s fun to watch the chipmunks chase after them.  Still the question remained, what is with the Pandora Moth itself?

I learned that the pupa remain in the ground for a year (in some areas, 2 to 4 years) before the adult moth emerges.  Also, those caterpillars were collected by Native Americans and stored in trench in the ground.  They are then roasted in fire-heated sand for 30 minutes (how did they know when 30 minutes had elapsed?) allowed to cool then washed where they could be stored in a cool dry place for a year or longer.  All they had to do was drop them in boiling water then eat them has finger food.  The water would be used as a broth for a stew.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

New Hunting Equipment for Beans

Most every morning I take Beans out on a hunt.  Rather than using her retractable leash I use this which is a fish stringer I found at a lake in South Dakota a few years back.  This works well as I can let go of it as she runs off after whatever and not ding up the retractable reel or fill it full of dirt.  Only problem with the dark blue nylon cord of the fish stringer is that I found it hard to see in the forest.  In the desert it was okay plus I can see her better in the wide open.  
The other day I got the idea to make a new hunting rope for her. 

The new one is made of white paracord.  
I made it twice as long as the fish stringer cord.

This one has proved to work out very well.
The white really shows up against the forest floor.
  I am able to track her down much easier at the conclusion of the chase.  

I have been searching for a bell to attach the end of the fish stringer for a long time and have not been able to find one yet.  It would be nice to have when we get back to the desert as it can clang along on the rocks and help me track her down.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

People Are Idiots!!

From the local paper here in Sisters, Oregon

On the first of July a statewide (Oregon) mandate went into effect regarding the wearing of masks in places of business.  Good grief!  These store owners are just trying to abide by the rules and remain in business to serve you.

This from the grocery store I go to.

From another business owner 

Sisters went months with no reported cases.  They now stand at nineteen.
This is one of the reasons we are not moving on elsewhere.  It seems like a pretty safe place to be except for the idiots.  Be careful.  They walk among us.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Shopping on a Saturday

I thought I would go to Dollar General Saturday morning.  It wasn't as if I really needed something I was out of but more about I'll have to go eventually.  As I reached the outskirts of town this old fart in his big truck barely slowed for his stop sign making a left turn into my lane.  Having ridden motorcycles on the road for years I have developed a keen sense for the idiots around me always watching out for them.  I saw it coming and swerved to the right whereupon he finally saw me and he swerved to the left into the oncoming lane.  I am positive he messed his pants.  I continued on giving him a glare and a shake of the head.  He was frantically trying to apologize with hand gestures.  Two blocks further I turned left and drove through the frou-frou part of town with some nimrod riding my ass in his Beemer.  I wanted to pull over and suggest to him to try harder for I was positive he could get closer.  Finally I made it to my turn into the parking lot for multiple stores.  I was following another moron in his big-ass truck.  He pulled way over to the left seemingly to go up one of the aisles and I continued on straight only to see he was just swinging wide (no signal) to get his big-ass truck into a very small slot in front of a store.  God forbid him parking out in the boonies and having to walk a hundred feet to the store.  He stopped before taking me out just staring at me out the passenger window in a complete “Where the #$@! did you come from?” look on his face.  By the look on his wife’s face in the passenger seat she had just given him a severe outburst for she knew I was there.  Oh the wrath of a wife.  I safely made it to Dollar General, parked, pulled up my bandanna and walked into the store.  I picked up a basket and started my shopping when things really went bad all of a sudden.  I discovered I had left my shopping list back in the RV!!  Shopping from memory isn't one of my strong points.  I did the best I could, paid for my items, loaded up my back pack and made it safely out of town and back home without getting squashed.  Back home I checked my list.  I did good.  I had planned on going to the grocery store the next day, Sunday, but you know how those Sunday drivers are.  Instead I stayed home and changed the oil in Gracie.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sisters Trails

There is a whole network of trails around this area all well marked with these signs.
I'd like to have one of those stickers for the wall in the RV.

One day I came upon this sign and they had...

these maps. Great! Now I can find my way around hiking or riding my bike and not get lost confused.

Well back at home I studied the map and saw it shows the entire country all the way to the Three Sisters volcanoes.  The map was designed for the horse riders who travel long distances.  My little patch of paradise is the small square off to the far right along the edge of the photo.  
The trails around me are not even on there.

I never saw a E-Bike symbol before.  Maybe you haven't either.

One day on a bicycle ride I found a horse shoe on the trail.  
That will be a nice memento of my stay here.

You are probably wondering so the round can is a Calume baking powder lid from a miner's camp, the gun is a toy pistol found at Ajo, Arizona, (the closest I'll ever come to finding a real gun in the desert), the wood spoon from in the forest at Tres Piedras, New Mexico, the old fork another prospector's camp I forget where, and the photo I found at a flea market back home.  I know nothing about the photo but just liked it.  There is a rifle leaning up against the car but I've never been able to make out what she is holding in her hands.  She is wearing knee high boots with the pants tucked in, very unladylike for that time period.